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Evan Vucci / AP

The real reason the White House delayed a Friday announcement of an investigation into China's "unfair" trade practices was because State Department and United Nations officials warned the announcement could kill the chances of "convincing China to sign on to a U.N. resolution that would impose new sanctions on North Korea," Politico reports.

An administration official close to the matter confirmed the report to Axios on Saturday morning. Axios originally broke the story of the Friday announcement, though administration officials are now dodging questions about the delay by telling news outlets that they never announced anything.

Why this matters: It appears the Trump administration isn't quite ready to give up on its hope that China might help restrain North Korea. In recent weeks, President Trump has told aides he thinks China won't do anything real, and that it's time to get tough with them on trade.

Go deeper

31 mins ago - Health

U.S. tops 88,000 COVID-19 cases, setting new single-day record

Expand chart
Data: COVID Tracking Project; Chart: Axios Visuals

The United States reported 88,452 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, setting a single-day record, according to data from the COVID Tracking Project.

The big picture: The country confirmed 1,049 additional deaths due to the virus, and there are over 46,000 people currently being hospitalized, suggesting the U.S. is experiencing a third wave heading into the winter months.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Large coronavirus outbreaks leading to high death rates — Coronavirus cases are at an all-time high ahead of Election Day.
  2. Politics: Top HHS spokesperson pitched coronavirus ad campaign as "helping the president" — Space Force's No. 2 general tests positive for coronavirus.
  3. World: Taiwan reaches a record 200 days with no local coronavirus cases.
  4. Sports: MLB to investigate Dodgers player who joined celebration after positive COVID test.
  5. 🎧Podcast: The vaccine race turns toward nationalism.

The norms around science and politics are cracking

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Crafting successful public health measures depends on the ability of top scientists to gather data and report their findings unrestricted to policymakers.

State of play: But concern has spiked among health experts and physicians over what they see as an assault on key science protections, particularly during a raging pandemic. And a move last week by President Trump, via an executive order, is triggering even more worries.